The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) have voiced their opposition against the Federal Government’s recent prohibition on granting leaves of absence to healthcare professionals seeking employment abroad. the policy, unveiled by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Tunji Alausa, is part of efforts to stem the tide of healthcare workers leaving the country, a phenomenon widely known as ‘Japa’.


Dr. Alausa said that health workers now must resign if they wish to pursue opportunities overseas, a directive emanating from an Executive Order by President Bola Tinubu aimed at tackling the brain drain crisis in the health sector. The President of NARD, Dr Dele Abdullahi, and the National Chairman of JOHESU, Dr Kabiru Minjibir, criticized the government’s strategy as insufficient and simplistic. They argue that it overlooks the fundamental issues driving healthcare professionals to seek better opportunities abroad.


The minister taking part in a conversation with media in Abeokuta, Ogun, on Saturday stated that the government will not prohibit the movement of health practitioners, but doctors who choose to move overseas must resign from their positions in the nation prior to their departure.



”However, the government has not prohibited anyone who wants to move to the UK or Australia to take up appointments not to do so,” the minister said.


“It is a free world. But you cannot eat your cake and have it. If you are going, just resign your appointment with the federal government rather than apply for a leave of absence.

“That is the Presidential Executive Order, which has been communicated to all the Chief Medical Directors of federally owned health facilities to implement.

By Nnaemeka Odenigbo

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